It happens every year. It is the last day before winter break and you panic because you forgot to buy teacher gifts. You throw a box of chocolates from last night’s Secret Santa in the backpack and hope for the best.
This year, plan ahead with this handy guide of teacher gift – buying do’s and don’ts:
1. Please, please… don’t buy them a mug. Every teacher I’ve polled has enough mugs to use a different one each day of the school year.
2. Stay away from things that have a strong personal preference, like perfume, lotions, candles and shower gels.
3. Know your teacher before you try to buy or make a personal gift. For example, know if your teacher wears jewelry, before you give her a handmade pair of earrings or necklace that your child will expect them to wear. And stay away from alcohol unless the teacher is also a friend, and then give it away from the school setting.
4. If your child insists on picking out a gift on his own, please review and edit the purchase. One teacher told me a cautionary tale of receiving a bottle of personal lubricant that her well meaning student thought was a bottle of hand sanitizer!
5. When in doubt – give a gift card. Restaurants, movies, bookstores and a big box retailer with a bullseye logo are among the favorites. For any amount.
6. Better yet, contributing to a group gift organized by you or another parent is the best. That way, a more substantial gift card can be purchased.
7. Above all, teachers love letters and pictures from students and a heartfelt note of thanks from parents. They really have no expectations of gifts, but knowing how much you appreciate them goes a long way.
Remember, it is the thought that counts. And don’t forget the other people your child encounters like bus drivers, art teachers, classroom aides, etc. Anyone who has helped make your child’s day special deserves recognition for her hard work and dedication.